"And darkness was upon the land. All that was, was no more. The land lay wasted in ruins. No words were spoken. No songs were sung. Music was in a state of chaos. Its direction unknown. But one day, in the forest and through the trees, a voice came calling. Calling from above. Calling for "The Awakening". The wind carried the voice throughout the land in hopes that it would be heard. When all had seem to fail, there stirred a movement in the ashes. And from the ashes arose a strong and powerful group of musicians called - "Worhol". An army of chosen ones who would bring forth to the land a new and inspirational voice in music. Thou shall be Awakened!"
Some people are born to create art for us others to enjoy, and I think it's safe to say the same thing about Worhol. It would be easy to say that being related to the great Andy Warhol kinda predestines you to create art, that it's in the genes. But that would be too easy. "Music has always seemed to find us" says front-woman Ashley Worhol, who majored in musical composition in college - just like her father. "I followed my father’s footsteps. Him and I both have our degrees in music composition. With this degree we were trained in music theory, ear training, orchestration and more! At the time of attending the University of St. Thomas, in order to major in music you had to master two instruments. My father of course chose piano and for his second instrument he chose saxophone. I had the obvious choice of voice and piano but ended up learning violin as well. My father succeeded very well when it came to composing orchestration and still to this day he hand writes all the string parts. In college I was trained as an opera singer and have been very fortunate to use that training in our current style of music."
So maybe it's in the genes after all. But considering how musicians tend to butt heads when creating music, does the father-daughter relation not put extra pressure or stress on the creative process? "I am very fortunate to be able to work side by side with one of my biggest role models. It is a dream come true to be able to share our dream together. When we first started out my timing drove my father crazy and he made it his mission to organize all of the songs. We are both perfectionists and both have specific ideas on how we want our music to sound. Luckily, our personal relationship has never been compromised. Although, we both have a certain look we give each other when we don’t like what the other is doing and if one of us returns that look with a slight smirk while looking the other way you know it was out of pure playfulness. That means they did it just to see if it would be noticed! At the end of the day, you are family and that personal relationship is worth more than any discussion that could cause conflict." The perfection and harmony that results from this truly unique family constellation is clearly audible when you listen to the music, there is a natural flow to the sounds and songs that makes Worhol stand out among similar bands. They have a unique personality, and despite being a fairly young band, sound like veterans that have played together for decades.
But there is more than the music, Warhol also have a strong visual component. Their stage outfits, the props, it's very theatrical. You are getting more than 4 or 5 people playing live on stage, you get a real show, a story with heroes and antagonists - and a castle! "As a performer, the visual aspect is just as important as the music." explains Ashley when asked about how important the show aspect is. "We take pride in the image we have created for ourselves. When people come to shows they are wanting to have an experience, and an experience is exactly what we are. We have created this setting that matches our music. I have always loved goth and have wanted to create our own style of gothic.
One of our inspirations comes from the medieval era with knights, swords and castles. One day I said, “Daddy, make me a castle!” and well a castle was then made! Our visuals give off the impression as if someone was going to the theatre. We create a story while on stage and our music brings it to life." I guess regular kids get forts, goth kids get castles. I hope you are taking notes, parents, better start digging that moat!
"There are different styles of goth and the best thing about the style in general is that you can make it your own"
You seam to have been drawn to the darkness from an early age on, then, but what exactly did fascinate you about gothic?
"Growing up I always found myself drawn to black clothing. There's something about the color black that gives a sense of mystery and curiosity. This is what I love the most about the gothic style. You get to create an image for yourself and with the clothing that I wear on stage I want the audience to be captivated by it. The clothing we wear plays a huge part within the music's story. I want our listeners to feel curiosity and I want them to feel intrigued by not only what they are hearing but by what they are seeing as well. "
And how would you explain gothic to a non-goth? What is it about for you?
"There are different styles of goth and the best thing about the style in general is that you can make it your own. Some might assume that goth is just wearing all black but that actually isn't the case. There are many variations and I consider the style that I wear as elegant goth. I love the Victorian Ear as well as the Medieval Times Period. There was such beauty in their clothes and a sense of proper elegance that I personally find to be breath taking. People tend to dress based on how they either want to present themselves or based on the mood they are feeling. When I step on stage I want my wardrobe to portray confidence, modesty, and elegance."
And, obvious question considering we're a clothing store, what is your prefered clothing? What does Ashley Warhol wear when she's not on stage?
"My overall preferred clothing are dresses and leggings. You will hardly ever see me in jeans. My family jokes with me that I am either dressed really up or really down, there isn't much of an in between! I've always enjoyed getting dressed up, so the clothing I wear for the stage is my absolute favorite. If I could walk around all day long in that, I would!
I also really enjoy working out and playing tennis so my comfortable clothing consists of athletic wear and/or pajama pants, you can never go wrong sitting on the couch drinking coffee and watching movies while wearing pajamas! But of course, on the days when I am out in public I normally wear leggings, combat boots, a loose fashionable shirt, leather jacket and last but not least I finish it off with jewelry, rings are my favorite accessory!"
"The clothing I wear for the stage is my absolute favorite. If I could walk around all day long in that, I would!"
Artists that rely on visual components to present their music are all too frequently dismissed as being less "true" than bands who play in their regular street clothes. But in my opinion the visual component does not distract from the music, it adds a whole extra layer of ambiance and enjoyment to the aural experience. Besides, Worhol have paid their dues on the live stage, relentlessly touring the club circuit and earning the recognition and support of their peers (John LeCompt from Evanescence volunteered to work on their album). Worhol is an authentic live band, and is drawing a growing following in the US. Is gothic or symphonic metal starting to get the same level of popularity we usually know from Scandinavia or the UK? "Symphonic metal has really started to make its way to the US. There have been a lot of well known groups in this genre that have came to the US from overseas and have had very successful tours. I think people get excited when there is something new. I know when we first started playing, our sound was talked about how it was different, how we were unique. Every symphonic metal group puts their own creativity into the style, that’s why so many groups are succeeding in this genre."
Rock shows always look exciting from the outside, you get to wear cool clothing, play awesome music and earn the screams and praise of your adoring fans as reward, but it's also an incredible amount of hard work, especially when touring. So, what are the difficulties of a life on the road for Worhol? "I know personally I like to try and eat healthy and stay in shape but when you are on the road eating healthy is not always easy to do, nor is finding places open at certain times of the night. I remember when we toured Florida, there was not a lot around our hotel so we ended up eating at Denny’s almost everyday, for breakfast and for dinner sometimes too! I think on that same tour on our way back to Texas we all just wanted some good home cooking food and it was already really late at night. All of a sudden we saw a Cracker Barrel sign and our eyes lit up! They had about 20 minutes till they were closing and all I wanted was their biscuits and sweet tea! I’m sure while we were eating that meal it looked like we hadn’t eaten for days. We had finally received the meal we were craving." Who knew, Cracker Barrel, the life-saver for hungry rock stars! Nothing will make a hungry musician feel better than a healthy helping of some hearty grandma-style food!
You also toured the UK - except the absence of Cracker Barrel, did touring old Europe feel different? "How did you experience it? "We were so fortunate to tour the United Kingdom! This was our first international tour and with our style of music this was the perfect place to be. You always hear how some bands have touring horror stories and you try and plan for the best in any given situation. So after arriving, during our sound check for our first show we realized that the airline had broken my keyboard, which is still in the UK by the way!
We immediately had to figure out how I would be able to find another keyboard and to our rescue, John the host of Dr. Johns Unsigned Rock Surgery had one I could use. He had been playing our music on his radio station and this was our first time meeting in person so not only was it a frantic hello I gave him a big hug because he saved the day! After that, everything went smoothly and what I remember the most is the landscape. It was so beautiful and peaceful. We can’t wait to come back! "
I am old-school, I admit it, in my opinion a band has to prove its' worth on stage, that's the most important criteria in my very personal and subjective rating system. And Worhol have scored high. Not many young bands have invested as much time and passion to earn a valid live reputation. They have earned my respect.
But I also have to feed my stereo. Fortunately Worhol have delivered a stellar debut: "The Awakening" is an asthonishing and solid rock album that offers a multitude of styles and sounds all while sounding cohesive. It draws you in with the first song and keeps you gripped until the very last note. The songs are strong, the sound is polished and powerful, and it makes us wonder in amazement how they pulled of such a feat? "I remember hearing our mastered tracks for, “The Awakening” album for the first time, I had so many emotions. I felt a sense of accomplishment, relief and success. When you have an idea of what you want a song to sound like, nothing compares to when you get to hear it put all together. It’s creating a masterpiece, our masterpiece. Each song sounds different which has allowed “The Awakening” appeal to many audiences. With my father’s style combined with mine the audience hears a mixture of symphonic rock, classic rock, melodic metal and more! With the different styles this album will keep you guessing what will the next song sound like?
I would have to say we were very fortunate to work with some top names in the industry. The majority of our album was recorded and mastered by John LeCompt, former member of, ‘Evanescence’. When he reached out to me about working with us I knew he was the perfect fit! He knew our style and I knew he would be able to bring our music to life. He was a pleasure to be around and it’s an honor that we can call him our friend. Along with John, we also worked with Stephen Bogle, former member of, ‘The Hunger’. He recorded and mastered the track, “We, the Abused.” We were very thrilled when we heard the final track. He was able to capture our sound in a different light. He was very humble and still to this day he is dear to our hearts.
Another name people might recognize is, Mark Andes. He was the bass player for Heart. He drove down to Houston to play the bass track to, “The Darkness.” He brought his family with him and they were some of the most down to earth people we have met. So overall, this first album expresses who we really are. "
Music & social
Listen to samples and buy music here: www.cdbaby.com/cd/worhol
Official website: http://worhol.net
Follow the band on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/worhol.productions
Follow the band on Twitter: www.twitter.com/worholtheband